Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes
(Perch-likes) > Serranidae
(Sea basses: groupers and fairy basslets) > Epinephelinae
Etymology: Epinephelus: Greek, epinephelos = cloudy (Ref. 45335).
Environment / Climate / Range
Marine; demersal; depth range 1 - 120 m (Ref. 36484), usually ? - 15 m (Ref. 3589). Tropical; 40°N - 24°S, 99°W - 9°E (Ref. 5222)
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?, range 25 - 36 cm
Max length : 61.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 26340); common length : 35.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 5217); max. published weight: 4.1 kg (Ref. 40637); max. reported age: 12 years (Ref. 31618)
soft rays: 8. Maxilla without scales. Preopercle with rounded, only slightly enlarged, spines at its angle. Opercle with 3 flat spines, middle one the largest. Pelvic fins shorter than pectorals and shorter than longest dorsal spine. Bases of soft dorsal and anal fins covered with scales and thick skin. 2 or 3 dark saddles along base of dorsal fin and another on top of caudal peduncle. Tan with red spots on head, body and fins, spots becoming larger ventrally (Ref. 26938); characterized further by: body depth less than head length, 2.6-3.2 times in SL; head length 2.1-2.5 in SL; interorbital area flat or slightly concave; preopercle evenly serrate; smooth subopercle and interopercle; subequal posterior and anterior nostrils (Ref. 089707).
Western Atlantic: Massachusetts, USA and Bermuda to the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean and southern Brazil. Eastern Atlantic: Ascension and St. Helena islands; dubious records from the Canary Islands, Cape Verde and South Africa (Ref. 1496, 1953, 6572) are discussed by Heemstra (Ref. 6512). Also recorded from eastern Atlantic from Sao Tome in the Gulf of Guinea and from the Azores (Portugal) (Ref. 089707).
Inhabits rocky reefs. Usually solitary (Ref. 29). Feeds mainly on crabs (67%) and fishes (20%). At Ascension I., it feeds on juvenile Melichthys niger and young sea turtles. Difficult to approach (Ref. 9710). Its flesh is of good quality. Marketed fresh. Angling: Like other grouper, rock hind are caught by fishing at the right depth over an irregular bottom (Ref. 84357).
Heemstra, P.C. and J.E. Randall, 1993. FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 16. Groupers of the world (family Serranidae, subfamily Epinephelinae). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of the grouper, rockcod, hind, coral grouper and lyretail species known to date. Rome: FAO. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(16):382 p.
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 90363)
Threat to humans
Reports of ciguatera poisoning (Ref. 31172)
Fisheries: highly commercial; gamefish: yes
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates of some properties based on empirical models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01380 (0.00844 - 0.02257), b=3.10 (2.97 - 3.23), based on LWR estimates for species & Genus-BS (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 3.5 ±0.5 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (K=0.11).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Moderate to high vulnerability (54 of 100) .